You remember Circuit City, don’t you?
Though VCRs and boom-boxes aren’t likely to make a comeback anytime soon, Circuit City Corporation is hoping that at least the name brand still has power. The once Number 1 big-box tech and gadget company shuttered its doors in 2008. From the looks of those forlorn stores, it permanently unplugged itself from the American psyche.
But now, Circuit City is getting ready for a reboot in Dallas. Oddly enough, not too far away from the longtime headquarters of another famous tech retailer that went in and out of bankruptcy – Radio Shack. Given all the online competition, why would Circuit City try to make a brick-and-mortar comeback? And why in Dallas?
Daniel Rajaratnam, marketing professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, says he’s surprised Circuit City is trying to make a comeback.
“The brand has a negative connotation,” he says, “because it went out of business.”
Rajaratnam says if they’re “savvy” about it, they could make a comeback, depending on who they target and how they do it. He’s read that they’re targeting much younger shoppers.
“That surprises me because millennials are probably more online shoppers than anyone else,” he says. “Unless they have done some serious thinking about what value they can provide to these millennials who shop online and bring them back to the brick-and-mortar store, this can be a very risky venture.”
Rajaratnam says the old Circuit City was more like a Best Buy and from what he’s seen in marketing materials from the new Circuit City, he says they’re revamping their store interiors.
“They have to reposition the brand,” he says. “Gone are all the big televisions and it really looks like a cross between an AT&T store and an Apple store.”
Rajaratnam says they’re planning to branch out into 3D printers and drones – in addition to phones, computers, tablets and laptops – by working with Canon, Intel and Sony.
Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.